Analysis Elements to Introduce Gamification to an Organization

The other day I was asked this question about gamification analysis.

I’m an ISD working primarily with military clients and I would like to know how you perform your analysis on a company that would like gamification. What process do you use to perform your analysis?

This is a good question as people often wonder what is the best way to determine if the use of gamification is appropriate for a particular type of content or a particular audience of learners.

So here are some general guidelines I use when conducting a needs analysis related to gamification.

First, you need to identify the type of gamification. I often encounter several different flavors of gamification so you need to define your terms. Sometimes when someone says “gamification” they mean creating some type of experience involving assigning points for activities partaken over a time period with a leaderboard keeping track of who is accumulating the most points and then providing some type of reward. I call that Structural Gamification–a structure is placed around instructional content that is game like but the course content is not changed to be game like.

Sometimes people are actually referring to “game-based learning”. You need to define the term that they are discussing before you get started. This will define the experience and the design you want to execute.

Second, poll your audience. I usually conduct some type of survey to get an understanding of the types of games the learners might play, the experiences they may have had with gamification and the types of learning experiences they’ve had. Understanding how the potential learners relate to games and whether or not they do play games can provide some insight into how you will want to design your gamification learning event. Don’t rely on age. You cannot assume that every Millineal is gamer or that every boomer hates games. Know your own learners, survey your learners.

Third, you need to look at the technology being considered for deployment. Can mobile devices be used for the gamification experience? Are tablets available or is the only option a desktop solution. The type of device on which the gamification experience will occur is important.

Fourth, determine when the people are to be participating in the gamification solution. Is this supposed to happen at work when the learner first arrives? Does this happen in the field? Does it happen at the person’s desk? Does it happen on their phone after the work day? Knowing where the experience will occur provides good insights into the design and execution of your gamification solution.

Fifth, make sure the content matches the gamification solution. It is difficult to teach problem solving using multiple choice questions while it makes perfect sense to help people remember product features and safety rules with multiple choice, quiz type applications. So know what content you are going to be teaching and the right gamification strategy to present to the learners.

Finally, conduct a focus group and test out some of your ideas, the focus group can help you decide what is best and what is not for the gamification intervention.

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Karl Kapp
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